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Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen

The art of noise

A show about how sounds from household items and nature get turned into something else. First Kurt Andersen talks with Ben Burtt, the legendary sound designer who came up with the iconic noises in “Star Wars,” “WALL-E” and more. Then Kurt gets a lesson on the theremin from a master of this out-there instrument, Pamelia Stickney. Many people find the cacophony that comes from old steam radiators to be aggravating, but the writer Henry Alford hears music in his, and sets to work to make a symphony from the clanks and hisses. And then it all goes to the birds: Artist Nina Katchadourian replaced her car alarms with recordings of bird calls … and Ben Birin fuses birdsong with beatboxing.

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